Michael J. Fox said that at first he used alcohol to cope with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s.
The “Back to the Future” star was initially diagnosed with a “degenerative disorder” in the early 1990s, but this was not publicly reported until 1998.
The life of a star is the subject of a new documentary, “Still: The Film by Michael J. Fox”, which has just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, in which he talks about his diagnosis.
In the film, he recalled taking dopamine pills, “like Halloween Nerds (candy),” to prevent early symptoms of the disease, and always kept props on set to hide the trembling.
“Therapeutic value, comfort—none of these reasons was the reason I took these pills,” he says (via USA Today). “There was only one reason: to hide. I became a virtuoso manipulating drug use to reach the peak at exactly the right time and in the right place.”
Recalling the fear of his prognosis, Fox says that he started drinking, explaining: “I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know what was coming. So what if I could just have four glasses of wine and maybe a shot glass?
“I was definitely an alcoholic,” he adds, although he admits that “he hasn’t been drinking for 30 years.”
Fox admits that his wife and children helped him become sober, saying, “No matter how low I fell from alcohol, abstinence would make me even worse. I couldn’t run away from myself anymore.
“You can’t pretend at home that you don’t have Parkinson’s disease because you’re just there with it. If I’m in the world, I’m dealing with other people and they don’t know I have it.”
“For me, the worst thing is restraint. The worst thing is being locked up and not being able to get out,” he adds, admitting in the early days, “there were times when I thought, ‘There’s no way out of this.’
Last year, Fox said that in 2022 he received a number of injuries, and in October he said that he was recovering from several bone fractures.
“It was a struggle, but I’m happy. I say this because I hope that at some level people will be able to find happiness, despite what they are going through,” he told People.